Despite reacting on the end, the National Team fell 72-65 to the homeowner. Beyond not getting on the podium, Argentina won much more than a place in this World Cup.
What Argentina won in this U16 World Cup was much more than a qualification for the 2022 World Cup. And it is that beyond today’s defeat against local Mexico (72-65), a result that left the team with no chances for a podium, the Selection demonstrated during these days in Guanajuato that there is material to be hoped for, in the present and for the future. A young litter that, although she will have to continue working to continue with her development, made it clear that she has conditions and talent, that not only did she acquire a very interesting and dynamic style of play but also brought out an important character in many moments. The tournament could not be dismissed with a victory, but we must not lose sight of the fact that the jackpot had already been won on Friday with the move to U17 in Hungary next year.
Needless to say, this team wanted to hang the coveted bronze medal today. It would have been an ideal closing, a smiling farewell for the National Team. Because if we talk about meritocracy, Argentina had pure and sufficient arguments to yearn to climb that third step. Only in two of the six previous editions of the U16 World Cups had a podium been reached (2009 and 2017, in both third), but beyond trying until the last second, the Pavón team did not succeed and finished in 4th step.
The local ended up weighing more because it had a greater focus and because it managed to make Argentina uncomfortable for most of the game. He was backed by an excellent defense, with overwhelming pressure but also very good responses up front. Maciel, Navarro and Mendoza had an afternoon at a high level, and Argentina, who won for a moment by 13, could not contain the rival reaction and despite a very close finish ended up falling.
Against Mexico there was already a recent antecedent and with defeat, in the debut of the tournament (66-58 last Monday). It had been a game in which Argentina had played an interesting game in which they reacted to a bad start but it had not been enough to celebrate. Today there was a chance for revenge, and the team needed to capture its DNA: good passing game, a lot of intensity and rhythm, an orderly and coordinated idea, not negotiating the rebound, and a high concentration to defend each ball and generate chances on offense.
Nervousness was the factor that prevailed in the first minutes. It is true that the defensive proposal of both had a strong role, however the offensive decisions were not the most successful, and within that process everything was even.
The most interesting thing about Argentina, the moment in which he managed to take control, was seen in the first 15 minutes of the game. And it is that when he was able to accommodate himself, he managed to gravitate and draw some differences. He flowed in attack, generated chances near the basket and that generated greater confidence.
In that section, the best happened through Delfi Cergneux, who with 17 points and 5 rebounds was the clearest that our team had. The entrerriana was key not only in this match but also throughout the entire tournament, appearing as one of the great cards that could be exploited in the inner game. But it was not the only one: Maggi accompanied very well too, and what was offered from the intangibles (in defense and rebounds) by players like Giacone, Bourgarel, Hentschel, Espedale and others, enhanced that Albiceleste moment.
The National Team got to take an income of +13, typical of said clean and jerk, but it was then that Mexico woke up and definitely changed the game: partial from 14 to 0, with a suffocating pressure in defense and intensity in the counterattack to take control. Then another game began to be woven, very different from the one at the beginning, more in point by point, and with a figure like Maciel who was unstoppable for Argentina.
The game was so changing that in the third quarter the local won it by eleven (54-43), and Pavón’s U16s entered a circle of frustration and annoyance, from which it was difficult to get out. Some arrests of Amaya, Giacone, Bourgarel and Guglielmi opened the door of a hope of turning the game around, but in a process where defensive neglect was paid dearly, Mexico was the team that ended up weighing a little more, due to the focus. and the quick response you always got.
Beyond the fact that Argentina was within reach of turning it on the closing (it came to be only three apart), it had no prize at the end and ended up being a defeat. However, for a team that has not competed for almost two years and a litter that returned our country to a continental tournament in this category, the work is more than done and accomplished.